Top resort winners
Siem Reap has emerged as Asia’s top resort town, according to the results of Condé Nast Traveler’s annual Readers’ Choice Awards, with three of Temple Town’s resort hotels featuring in the Top 15 Resorts list for Asia. No other single destination in Asia picked up as many awards in that category. Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf and Spa Resort headed the local contingent, coming in at Number 4 on the Top 15 list. The Victoria Angkor Resort and Spa was ranked as Number 11, and the Grand Soluxe Angkor Palace Resort and Spa was voted equal Number 15 alongside Thailand’s JW Marriott Phuket Resort and Spa.
In a separate category, two Siem Reap hotels featured in the ‘Top 20 Hotels Southeast Asia’ ranking. La Résidence d'Angkor came in at Number 9, and Raffles Grand Hotel D'Angkor was placed Number 12. This year’s Readers’ Choice Awards – the 25th annual listing – took into account the opinions of a record 46,476 readers who took part in the survey.
Help bust a pedo
Pedophile-busting organisation Action pour les Enfants (APLE) hopes to celebrate its tenth anniversary next January – but right now it simply hopes to survive a funding crisis. It’s looking at a 40 per cent funding shortfall next year because of the European austerity measures and because it’s main funding over the last decade has come from Spain, now a fiscal basket case.
Consequently the call has gone out for more donations. APLE runs an office in Siem Reap which services eight provinces and Laos, and the average monthly cost of keeping the SR office afloat is $7,890. The Siem Reap branch held ten separate training sessions in and around SR, Battambang and Poipet during the July-September quarter, attracting 122 participants – 70 males and 52 females. On September 26, the group initiated a letter of intervention, co-signed by 13 NGOs, which was sent to the Minister of Justice, Ang Vongvathana, requesting he intervene in the criminal case by Siem Reap Provincial Court against a Dutch National who was acquitted of all charges of committing indecent acts against five minors less than fifteen years of age.
APLE described that case against the 39-year-old Dutch serial child sex offender as “repulsive.”
New artisans Angkor workshops
Super-successful Artisans Angkor has opened two more workshops in the Siem Reap district. In August a large workshop opened at Ta Noeuy, about ten minutes from town, and this already houses happily-toiling artisans, working with wood and polychrome. Another workshop has also been established at a “quiet countryside village,” Treak. Twenty-two youths are being trained this year in the sizing wooden statues, and they can become fully professional artisans at the new workshop.
A new Siem Reap governor is about to be installed following the imminent retirement of the present governor Sou Phirin. No details yet as to who and when. Soria Moria Boutique Hotel will host a networking night to celebrate Responsible Tourism day on November 8, kicking off at 5.30pm. Kerry Huntly, who has run NGO New Hope for five years, has jumped ship and started a new outfit, Feeding Dreams. Lots of rumours about why, but Kerry ain’t commenting, publically anyway.